Socket M2 / AM2

AMD have confirmed that the new socket will be called "AM2" and CPU's for this socket will be available in stores on 6 June 2006.

What is socket M2 / AM2?

For the last couple of years, AMD has referred to its next socket as M2. Its now officially called "AM2".

AM2 is intended to allow Athlon 64 and Opteron CPUs to use DDR2 RAM.

What type of memory do AM2 cpus use?

One the major reasons that AMD is moving to AM2 is to allow support for DDR2 ram. As you probably know, Intel chipsets have been using DDR2 ram for some time now. A number of industry commentators have suggested that AMD should delay the launch of socket AM2 and make it DDR3 compatible.

DDR3 is presently used in a variety of medium to high end graphics cards from Nvidia (eg. Geforce 6800 and above) and ATI (eg. X1600). Nvidia has been shipping graphics cards with DDR3 memory since about April 2004, so this gives you some idea how far behind Intel and AMD are with its adoption.

What speeds of DDR2 will the socket support?

It has been known for a long time that AM2 will support DDR2 400, 533 and 667MHz memory speeds, but AMD has just announced that it will support DDR2 800MHz right from launch. This is great news. The move to DDR2 increases latency (compared to DDR RAM) and the on-chip memory controller of the Athlon 64/Opteron chips just loves low latency memory access. Supporting DDR2 at 800MHz should go a long way to making the increase in latency associated with a move to DDR2 a complete non-issue.

Can I use my Socket 939/940 cooler with AM2?

Short answer - NO. AMD have changed the design of the "cage" (the plastic bracket that mounts around the CPU socket to hold/support the CPU cooler. It may be possible to use some coolers that are attached using only the centre tabs. Alternatively, if you've got a multi-fit cooler, like some of the coolers from Thermaltake, you may be able to get different adapters to fit.

Which Opterons will use Socket AM2?

Socket AM2 will replace Socket 754, Socket 939 and Socket 940 for single processor applications. Accordingly, the Opteron 1xx series will utilise Socket AM2. Opteron 2xx and 8xx parts will utilise a new 1207 pin socket called Socket F.

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